U.S. manufacturing technology orders rose to $378.4 million in May, an increase of 7.3% over the previous month, according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report published by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. Orders for metal cutting technologies grew 4.5% while forming and fabricating technologies increased 64.8% over the previous month and 117% over May 2018. Despite the modest uptick in total orders from April, orders are down nearly 22% from May 2018, when orders totaled $484.2 million. The year-to-date total for 2019 increased to $1,867 million, a 13.5% decline from the 2018 total through May.
“Manufacturing technology orders will be good but smaller than 2018, and we will see a significant move in the customer mix as large manufacturers shift capital liabilities down the supply chain or into the machine shop sector,” says Pat McGibbon, chief knowledge officer for AMT. “In the past four months, the share of total orders placed by machine shops increased more than 20%. This is typical of business cycles with disruptions rather than a decline in manufacturing activity.”
While orders were up overall in May, growth was not even amongst all industries. Construction machinery manufacturing was up nearly seven-fold over the previous month, and orders from agricultural equipment manufacturing more than doubled. On the other hand, orders from the medical equipment manufacturers fell by a third, and primary metal manufacturing slashed orders by more than half. Orders from the aerospace sector increased just under 10%, and the engine and turbine sector, as well as automotive orders, increased by a third and a quarter, respectively. Machine shop orders fell by less than 1%. Of the major USMTO industries, industrial machinery had the highest uptick in orders, more than doubling April 2019 levels.
The largest growth rate for a region in May 2019 was the Southeast, where orders increased 25.8% of their April 2019 level. Gains were also seen in the West, North Central – East, and South Central regions. Modest losses were recorded in the Northeast and North Central – West regions, where monthly totals fell by single-digit percentages from April 2019.